Saying Good-Bye to 2020

Is it over yet?

We are finally nearing the end of the year that none of us will forget.

As Christmas approaches, people everywhere will blow kisses and wave to their loved ones in video calls assuring each other that “things will be different next year.” Some of us will not be able to help the tears. Video is not the same as being with family and friends, but it’s a welcome upgrade from a phone call.

Like so many people, I am deeply grateful for the many blessings I have, and the hardships I have been spared.

Still, I admit I am wistful for the simple pleasures of tradition and long to travel to see family and friends. 

Thinking about all of the pain and suffering this year brings to mind a speech given by the Queen of England some years ago to sum up a particularly difficult year in the royal family.

“…not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”

Her Majesty the queen
Her Majesty’s 40th Anniversary as Queen

It was in 1992 on the occasion of her 40th anniversary on the throne that the Queen gave us one of her most memorable speeches.

Just four days earlier, a terrible fire tore through Windsor Castle and destroyed a hundred rooms. It started with a spotlight burning through a curtain in a private chapel. This heartbreaking loss came in a year where London paparazzi had descended like locusts on the royals, stinging and biting in pursuit of the latest gossip to spread.

There was much to feast upon as three royal marriages crumbled, including the fleeting fairytale union of the dearly loved Diana and her Prince Charles. Add to that the stories of “Camilla, the Secret Love” along with salacious pictures of Fergie, the Duchess of York circulating in the tabloids and we can see why one television presenter breathlessly summed up the Queen’s year as “twelve months of toe-curling scandal.”  

…it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty.”

Her Majesty the queen

What an apt way to describe our experience with 2020. 

In closing, might I suggest that if you are planning to use “annus horribilis” in your annual holiday letter this year that it would pay to carefully check your spelling. There has already been more than enough trouble to endure this year without inviting ridicule.

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